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|Wikipedia The 2010–2012 Greek protests|
|The 2010–2012 Greek protests were a series of demonstrations and general
strikes taking place across Greece. The protests, which began on 5 May 2010,
were sparked by plans to cut public spending and raise taxes as austerity
measures in exchange for a €110 billion bail-out, aimed at solving the
2010–2011 Greek debt crisis. Three people were killed in the 5 May protests,
one of the largest in Greece since 1973. On 25 May 2011, anti-austerity
protestors organized by the Direct Democracy Now! movement, known as the
Indignant Citizens Movement (Greek: Κίνημα Αγανακτισμένων Πολιτών, Kínima
Aganaktisménon Politón), started demonstrating in major cities across
Greece. This second wave of demonstrations proved different from the years
before in that they are not partisan and began through peaceful
means. Some of the protests later turned violent, particularly in the
capital city of Athens. Sparked by the 2011 Spanish Protests,
these demonstrations were organized entirely using social networking sites,
which earned it the nickname "May of Facebook". The demonstrations and
square sit-ins were officially ended when municipal police removed
demonstrators from Thessaloniki's White Tower square on 7 August 2011.
On 29 June 2011, violent clashes occurred between the riot police and
protesters as the Greek parliament voted to accept the EU's austerity
requirements. Accusations of police brutality were reported by international
media such as the BBC, The Guardian, CNN iReport and the New York Times as
well as Amnesty International. The Athens
Prosecutor agreed to an investigation into accusations of excessive use of
tear gas, as well as the alleged use of other expired and carcinogenic
chemical substances. The investigation is currently under way. Contents
[hide] 1 Background of the 2010 protests 1.1 Austerity measures 1.2
Relationship to the 2008 Greek riots 2 2010 protests 2.1 Before 5 May 2010
2.2 5 May 2010 strike and demonstrations 2.2.1 Aftermath of the 5 May
protest 3 Background of the 2011 protests 4 2011 protests 4.1 February 2011
4.2 The "Indignant Citizens Movement" (May–August) 4.2.1 May 4.2.2 June
4.2.3 July 4.2.4 August 4.2.5 Political reactions 4.2.6 Public perception
and media coverage 4.2.7 Gallery 4.3 Other protests in 2011 4.3.1 August
4.3.2 September 4.3.3 October 4.3.4 November 4.3.5 December 5 2012 protests
6 See also 7 References 8 External links 8.1 Live coverage Background
of the 2010 protests
Greek debt crisis Greek economy Global financial crisis European debt crisis Financial audits, 09–10 2010–2012 protests Economy referendum May 2012 election Government formation June 2012 election Eurozone exit fears v t e Further information: Greek government debt crisis and Economy of Greece > 2010–2011 debt crisis In the early-mid 2000s, the government took advantage of Greece's strong economy by running a large deficit. As the world economy cooled in the late 2000s, Greece was hit hard because its main industries—shipping and tourism—were sensitive to changes in the business cycle. As a result, the country's debt began to pile up rapidly. In early 2010 policy makers[who?] suggested that emergency bailouts might be necessary. On 5 March 2010, the Hellenic Parliament passed the cost- cutting Economy Protection Bill. On 23 April, the Greek government requested that a bailout package offered by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund be activated. The funds were expected to be available quickly, but it was unclear if they would be activated before a crucial 19 May debt rollover. On 27 April, Standard & Poor's cut the country's main debt rating to BB+ ("junk" status), increasing concern that a default might occur. Austerity measures On 1 May, Prime Minister George Papandreou announced a fourth round of austerity measures by the Greek government, described as "unprecedented". These include more public sector pay cuts, pension reductions, new taxes on company profits, an increase on luxury and sin taxes, and an increase of the value added tax. The proposed changes, which aim to save €30 billion through 2012, represent the biggest government overhaul in a generation. The cuts are in line with the EU-International Monetary Fund loan proposals, which demand that Greece liberalise its economy. They helped Greece reach a loan agreement, announced on 2 May, for an immediate €45 billion in loans (with a 5% interest for the most part, provided by the EU), with additional funds available in the future. The total value of the loans was expected to be in the €110 billion range. Papandreou submitted the bill to Parliament on 4 May. The Hellenic Parliament was expected to vote on the proposed austerity measures on 6 May. New Democracy, the conservative minority party, vowed to vote against the bill, but the bill was expected to pass due to the Panhellenic Socialist Movement's large 160-seat advantage in Parliament. The government has pleaded with demoralized staff not to retire, fearing that a surge in benefits requests could further drain the public treasury. In separate votes on 29 and 30 June, Parliament approved the austerity measures. Relationship to the 2008 Greek riots The 2008 Greek riots started on 6 December 2008, when Alexandros Grigoropoulos (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Γρηγορόπουλος), a 15-year-old student, was killed by two policemen in the Exarcheia district of central Athens. While the unrest was triggered by the shooting incident, commentators described the reactions as expressing deeper causes, especially a widespread feeling of frustration in the younger generation about the economic problems of the country (partly as a result of the global economic crisis), a rising unemployment rate among young people and a perception of general inefficiency and corruption in Greek state institutions. Related sporadic protests have continued into 2011. 2010 protests
Before 5 May 2010 This section requires expansion. (May 2010) On May Day there were protest marches in Athens and Thessaloniki, by many unions, left-wing, anarchist and communist party supporters. Violent clashes broke out when riot police were sent out to contain the protestors. On 4 May, members of the Communist Party of Greece broke into the Acropolis of Athens and hung banners: "Peoples of Europe Rise Up". 5 May 2010 strike and demonstrations In response to the proposed spending cuts and tax increases, a nation-wide strike was called for 5 May. Starting at midnight, airplane, train, and ferry traffic in and out of the country ceased. Schools, some hospitals, and many private businesses were closed. The demonstrations are seen by some as the most widespread since the end of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. An estimated 100,000 people marched through Athens, with some estimates stretching to 500,000. As protests gained momentum, a large group tried to storm the parliament building in Syntagma Square in Athens, where they scuffled with police, causing some of the Evzones (ceremonial guards) to flee from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The protesters accused members of parliament of being "thieves". Riot police were able to push the crowds back with tear gas, flash bombs and smoke bombs. Nearby buildings, including a finance ministry building, were set on fire. Prime Minister George Papandreou responded "Nobody has the right to violence and particularly violence that leads to murder. Violence breeds violence."
People paying their respects to the memory of the people who died on 5 May. Protesters set fire to a Marfin Bank branch on Stadiou Street with Molotov cocktails; witnesses said that protestors marching past the bank ignored the employees' cries for help, while others chanted anti-capitalist slogans. Most of the bank's employees managed to escape the burning building, but two employees who jumped from the second-story balcony were injured and two women and a man were found dead after the fire was extinguished. It was reported that fire crews had difficulty reaching the scene because of demonstrations moving through the area. The victims died of asphyxiation from toxic fumes when they were unable to escape from a roof exit that was blocked. They had gone to work despite the general strike over fears of losing their jobs. They have been identified as Paraskevi Zoulia, 35, Angeliki Papathanasopoulou, 32 (who was four months pregnant), and Epaminondas Tsakalis, 36. Papandreou called the incident a "murderous act". Michalis Chrysohoidis, the Minister for the Protection of the Citizen, declared that "today is a black day for democracy ... undemocratic forces have [latched on to] a peaceful demonstration of workers and now petrol bombs have killed three of our citizens and put an immediate danger to the lives of others." He also stated that "the killers will be caught and punished accordingly". Police started a widespread search, with the help of closed-circuit television footage in order to detect and arrest the suspects. The police blamed "hooded youth" for the incident, while one protestor who spoke to BBC blamed police brutality for the escalation of violence which was started when protestors threw Molotov cocktails at police; the police responded with pepper spray and tear gas. In response to the incident, the Greek Federation of Bank Employees' Unions blamed bank management for inadequate safety measures in the building and called for strike action. Elsewhere in Athens, some demonstrators threw rocks, bottles, and pieces of marble at the police. Numerous trash bins were lit on fire. Some broke windows, threw petrol bombs, and committed other acts of vandalism. Other protesters set up barricades and burned cars. Across Athens, at least 12 people were injured, and more than 70 people were detained for questioning. In Thessaloniki, 37 people were arrested as a result of the protests. Aftermath of the 5 May protest On 5 and 6 May 2010, the Hellenic Parliament passed the proposed austerity measures, claiming they show the Greek government's commitment to tackling its budget deficit, amongst continued protests. Also on 5 May, the German parliament began debating the bailout package, as Chancellor Angela Merkel urged rapid passage. Merkel remarked that "Quite simply, Europe's future is at stake." The plan requires Germany to provide the largest share, €22 billion, of the bailout funds. The plan must be approved by 15 Eurozone countries in total. Analysts said the protests could mark the beginning of protracted social unrest. If that occurs, the country could be pushed into deep recession. Economists have warned that it could be ten years before the Greek economy recovers, even if it does not worsen first. There has been advocacy for a political coalition from within the Greek political elite, and by the Greek journalist Alexis Papahelas who said that Papandreou should 'get rid of some of the novices he has in his government, make an overture to the opposition and go full-steam ahead.' One columnist at The Guardian suggests in an editorial that the protests speak of a deeper issue in Greek politics: she asks, 'What the advocates of this scenario [coalition government] do not seem to grasp is that the political class is out of touch with the population,' and 'How can we expect to see solutions and progress by the very same people who are inextricably, causally linked to the problem?' Background of the 2011 protests
The first round of austerity in 2010 failed to stop Greece's rising debt, which is expected to go up by 10% in 2011. Further information: Greek Government funding crisis and Economy of Greece > 2010–2011 debt crisis The memorandum signed between Greece and the IMF became largely unpopular in Greece, with some polls showing that 62% believe it was a bad decision. This memorandum came into action 7 October 2011. Amid accusations that the government has not achieved its goals according to the IMF memorandum, some countries in the European Union have stated that they will not be lending Greece any more money if the IMF does not do so, including the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. Some European officials went so far as to say that Greece should start selling away its assets to other European nations in order to receive loans, and the Dutch Minister of Finance said that the Greek parliament would not like this proposal and characterized the opinion of the Greek parliament as "a sensibility" that no one can consider at this time. Meanwhile, unemployment exceeded 15%, while a large percentage of full-time workers only receive the minimum wage of 592 Euros, or less. Rumours in regards to Greece's exclusion from the Eurozone also added to frustration, but these were categorically rejected by the Greek government, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Greece and IMF-director nominee, and French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde. On 29 June 2011, amid violent protests, the second austerity package was passed with 155 votes in favor in the 300-seat parliament. The next day, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations reported an independent UN expert's warning that the austerity measures could result in violations of the Greek people's human rights, such as "rights to food, water, adequate housing and work under fair and equitable conditions". Meanwhile, other international media have questioned the necessity of a second austerity package, when the first one brought in no results. When Greece signed the Memorandum with the European Union and the IMF in 2010, the matter of the constitutional legality of the memorandum came under criticism in Greece, both by the people and some of the country's most prominent university professors of law. The Athens Association of Lawyers, as well as a number of labour unions, brought the question of the legality of the memorandum to the Council of State of the Greek government, but the Council judged the contract to be constitutional in late June 2011. Apart from the economic crisis, there is also a developing political crisis in the country. The European Commission asked the major parties in Greece to come to an agreement in regards to the new set of austerity measures, but twice the major parties failed. In a poll published on 29 May 2011, the two major parties (the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement and the main opposition New Democracy) gathered slightly under 40% of the total number of votes, with the ruling party having 19%, while the opposition came first with 19.5%. In another poll published the same day, the ruling party came first with 20.7% while the opposition came second with 20.4%. According to the polls, neither of the two parties could form a government, even if they combined forces. The lack of co-ordination within the government (with conflicting government officials stating opposite 'government positions') also fueled the protests. When Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, stated that "our withdrawal from the Eurozone is on the table, we have to speak frankly" on 25 May, Greek banks lost liquidity equal to 1.5 billion Euro from withdrawals in two days. Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, vehemently denied that exiting the Eurozone is being considered. On 1 June, the leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally party, Georgios Karatzaferis, announced that his party is considering resigning from parliament, thus causing the dissolution of the Hellenic Parliament and triggering national elections. He also commented that "I see a Prime Minister that is unable to react, an opposition that is unwilling to play the game, and a Left that is in its own little world". 2011 protests
February 2011 On 23 February 2011, there was a recurrence of violent protests and strikes, involving up to 100,000 people as German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a renewal of the loan programme to Greece that had been conditioned on fiscal tightening. The measures adopted by Greece were considered harsh by the protesters. The "Indignant Citizens Movement" (May–August) May
Demonstrators in the plaza in front of the Greek parliament, 25 May.
The Real Democracy Now! information kiosk at Syntagma Square, 31 May. As of 25 May 2011, there is a peaceful demonstration in Athens and other major cities, protesting the new austerity measures proposed by the government, in the same spirit as the 2011 Spanish protests. The demonstrations include most major Greek cities:Athens, Thessaloniki, Larissa, Patras, Volos, Rethymno, Tripoli and Kalamata. The demonstration in Athens is coordinated by the Facebook page "Αγανακτισμένοι Στο Σύνταγμα" (Indignants at Syntagma). Currently, it is reported that over 90,000 people have registered on the page, and thousands (reportedly over 30,000) have gathered outside the Greek Parliament in Syntagma square. The demonstration in Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki, is co-ordinated by the Facebook page "Αγανακτισμένοι στον Λευκό Πύργο" (Indignants at the White Tower), and over 35,000 people have said they would 'attend' the protest. Some of the most popular slogans at the 25 May protest were: Error 404, Democracy was not found. I vote, You vote, He votes, She votes, We vote, You vote, They steal. Greece your turn has come, you have to stop burying your children. Oust! (Greek interjection of a negative nature, meaning "leave") The maid resisted. What do we do? (Reference to an alleged sex scandal involving former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn) This series of demonstrations differed from almost all other demonstrations in Greece's metapolitefsi era (1975–present) in that it was a protest organized without political or trade union affiliations. Demonstrators who expressed political party affiliation during the demonstrations were condemned by the majority of the demonstrators, as the organizers claimed that there was no room for political affiliation or violence in the demonstrations. The focus of the protesters was against the government and the current driving forces of Greek politics, and the International Monetary Fund. As a response to the Spanish slogan "Be quiet, the Greeks are sleeping" (which was allegedly heard at the 2011 Spanish protests), a big banner was raised in front of the Spanish embassy in Athens reading "¡Estamos despiertos! ¿Que hora es? ¡Ya es hora de que se vayan!" (We've woken up! What time is it? Its time they left!). There was also a strong sense of disapproval for the Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, and the vice-president of the government, Theodoros Pangalos. The demonstrations continued nation-wide for a second day on 26 May. Despite heavy rainfall in central Athens, reportedly over 14,000, people gathered in front of the Greek parliament for a second day in a row. The media reported that half of the people gathered at Syntagma Square in Athens were youth, whereas the other half were over 40, including families and children. In line with the Spanish quote of "Be quiet, the Greeks are sleeping" which triggered the Greek protests, two new banners appeared, one in French (Silence! Les Français dorment! Ils revent de '68, Silence! The French are sleeping! They are dreaming of (May) '68) and one in Italian (Zitti che svegliamo gli Italiani... Be quiet, you will wake up the Italians...). An information center and a "book of ideas" have also been set up at Syntagma Square. Additionally, a number of people were banging pots and pans. In Thessaloniki, Greece's second city and second-largest center of demonstrations, the protesters hung a huge For Sale sign from the city's main landmark, the White Tower, as a protest against the government's massive denationalization schedule, which they perceived as "selling away our country's assets". Although the demonstrations in Thessaloniki were visibly smaller on 26 May, with around 2,500 people participating, competing with a major football game between the city's two major teams and the shops and markets open until late that evening. Some people set up encampments. In Thessaloniki's protests there was much more of a sense of direct democracy, as citizens were free to take the floor and speak, voice their concerns and opinions, and contribute ideas about what should be done next, receiving the full attention of the other demonstrators.
The first vote of the people's assembly of Syntagma Square. Demonstrations continued for a third consecutive day on 27 May. Thousands of people gathered in front of the Greek parliament, again in heavy downpour, joined by the "I'm Not Paying" movement. As a means of protesting, people wearing white masks formed a human shield around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Syntagma Square. The demonstrations continued peacefully, and when one protester shouted a slogan against the police, he was heavily condemned by other demonstrators. On 27 May, the proceedings of the first people's assembly on Syntagma Square were published by the Real Democracy Now! movement. Among them: Any corrupt politician should either be sent home or to jail. When we, the people, start discussions without fear, fear grips them, inside the parliament building. This is not just the politician's fault. It's all our faults, with our selfish attitudes. Demonstrations should take place every evening at 6 pm and an assembly at 9 pm. Their democracy guarantees neither Justice nor Equality. The taxation system is not the same for the rich and the poor. Equal rights for everyone. On 28 May, demonstrations continued with at least 7,000 people gathered in front of the Greek parliament. A number of new flags appeared, including those of Tunisia, Argentina, Armenia and Hungary. At least 20 people set up tents in the square. Major demonstrations also took place in Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion. In Thessaloniki a cycling race was organized as part of the demonstration. All across the country the movement was becoming more organized, media reported, with teams of doctors, translators, and food supplies set up by the protesters, especially at Syntagma Square, which had turned into the main protest center for the country.
Demonstrators in front of the Greek parliament, 29 May. 29 May was set as a day of peaceful pan-European demonstrations. It was estimated that the demonstration in Athens alone attracted more than 100,000 demonstrators in front of the Greek parliament, while others put the estimates around 80,000. Demonstrations included people of all ages and financial backgrounds. The oldest person at the demonstration was a 102-year-old grandmother looking after her granddaughter, who also spoke at the people's assembly in support of the demonstrations. An estimated 10,000 people gathered in front of the White Tower of Thessaloniki in Greece's second city, and demonstrations were also held in many other Greek cities. Some of the most popular slogans that were heard on 29 May were "the worst form of violence is poverty" and "a magical night, like in Argentina, lets see who gets in the helicopter first!", a reference to Argentine President Fernando de la Rúa's resignation and escape from the presidential mansion using a helicopter in 2001. Some of the demands that the Real Democracy Now! movement has formulated during the assemblies at syntagma Square include: Adoption of a new constitution, written by the people and not the members of parliament Refusal to pay debt which members of the movement consider to be odious Cancellation of the memorandum signed between Greece and the International Monetary Fund Harder taxation on the rich.
A similar vote was issued by the people's assembly in Thessaloniki. 30 May saw continued demonstrations in Athens and other cities around Greece, although visibly smaller than the demonstrations of 29 May. More than 4,000 people demonstrated in front of the Greek parliament on 30 May, with some sources claiming that over 10,000 people were present. The demonstrators also set up a set of gallows in front of the parliament, demanding that those responsible for the crisis be sent to justice. Over 30 tents were set up in front of the White Tower of Thessaloniki in Greece's second-largest city, where a direct democracy style people's assembly took place every evening. 31 May marked seven days since the start of the protests, and the University of Athens hosted an anti-government protest with the aid of famous Greek composer and anti-dictatorship fighter Mikis Theodorakis, while the dean of the University was also a key speaker at the event. Once the protest at the university was over, the 10,000 protesters joined forces with the demonstrators already in front of the parliament, totalling between 25,000 and 50,000. The demonstrators surrounded the Greek parliament, making it impossible for MPs and workers inside the building to exit. while Eight MPs escaped through the adjacent National Gardens. Later riot police created a passage in order to enable MPs to exit the parliament, to the loud condemnation of 1,000 protesters gathered at the side entrance. June Demonstrations continued on 1 June. At Corfu, protesters surrounded a restaurant where Greek and foreign members of parliament were having a dinner, shouting slogans against them while a few were throwing rocks and other objects at the politicians. Finally, the officials were forced to escape using a boat, as the restaurant was near the harbor. In Athens, more than 15,000 people gathered in front of the parliament to protest for an eighth day in a row. This time they were also joined by the Society for the Protection of Citizens by the Arbitration of Banks, and also a group of motorcyclists who also showed their support for the protests. Earlier that evening the riot police had closed up the streets leading up to the embassy of Egypt. In order to avoid being blockaded inside the parliament like on 31 May, the members of parliament left early on 1 June. Among thousands of protesters in Syntagma square, 32 Greek scientists addressed a letter to the members of parliament calling them to announce the whole truth of the situation
Indignants cleaning the streets around Syntagma Square on their 22nd day of protest on 15 June. 5 June was set as a second day of pan-European demonstrations and marked the 12th continuous day of demonstrations. It is estimated that well over 200,000 gathered at Athens' Syntagma Square that evening to protest against the government. Some sources put the number of people in front of the parliament to over 300,000 while the organizers claim that over 500,000 people took part in the demonstration, making it the largest demonstration in Athens since the 1980s. At the people's assembly a direct connection with Madrid's Puerta del Sol was made via Skype. Some tension occurred on 5 June, as protesters were prevented from heading towards Syntagma Square by riot police, which had put together large metallic barriers to close off streets. Police also brought a water cannon to the protests. Demonstrations also took place in Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion, as well as many other Greek cities. Some of the most popular slogans of that day included: Bread-Education-Freedom – the dictatorship didn't fall in '73! We do not owe, we will not sell away, we will not pay. Minister of culture, minister of censorship
A bin on fire during the 29 June riots in a street near parliament.
Clash between riot police and a citizen – 29 June 2011. Demonstrations continued throughout June, both at Syntagma Square and other squares in cities across the country. On 28 June 2011, Greek unions, including those whose members dominate the country's health, transportation, education, and government jobs began a 48-hour strike, in protest of the deteriorating economic situation and suggestions on the part of the government of new austerity measures. The walkout led to the freezing of a number of public services. Journalists and a number of artists also stopped working in solidarity with the protest. That day demonstrations turned violent as protestors clashed with police in front of the Greek parliament and other areas of central Athens. Violence continued during the night and on 29 June, the day when a new package of deeply unpopular austerity measures was passed. The police attempted to evacuate Syntagma Square of protesters, as well as other key protest points in Athens, by driving through the crowds on motorbikes and throwing stun grenades while making extensive use of tear gas. Media also mention that the police used unnecessary violence against protesters. Officials from the Athens Metro also said that the police had fired tear gas inside the Syntagma Square metro station. Police also stormed Monastiraki, as well as the streets around the Acropolis, randomly hitting people eating at taverns and making extensive use of chemicals and stun grenades. Doctors at the infirmary set up at Othonos Square said the police had attacked them using stones and pieces of marble. Earlier, two members of the Teacher's Association were attacked by police and were injured, one of them on the head. Police also tried to deny access to the square to an ambulance attempting to transport heavily injured civilians to a hospital. A total of about 270 people were injured on 28 June alone, and over 500 visited the Syntagma Square metro station infirmary on 29 June. The Ministry of Health reported that 99 people were sent to hospitals on 29 June. Following almost two days of violence in the streets in front of the Greek parliament, the Greek TV channel Alter aired a video apparently showing members of the riot police cooperating with hooded youth. The Minister for Citizen Protection, Christos Papoutsis, ordered an immediate investigation in the claims according to which the police was aiding the hooded youth which vandalized Syntagma Square and the surrounding areas and later allowed them to move behind the police lines. The damage caused to Athens' historic city center is estimated to be over 500,000 euro, as shop fronts were vandalized by hooded youth. Three of Greece's most famous hotels located on Syntagma Square were forced to evacuate their guests and personnel in view of the uncontrollable situation, something that the media say has not happened since the events of December 1944, which started the Greek Civil War. Meanwhile in Thessaloniki a crowd of people had blocked a number of important political and religious figures from exiting the grounds of the Papafeio Orphanage, including Minister of Health Andreas Loverdos and the metropolitan bishop of Thessaloniki, Anthimus. The crowds demanded that the Greek Orthodox Church help Greece in this time of crisis and accused the clergy of receiving oversized salaries. When protesters asked the metropolitan bishop how much his religious attire costs, he replied "not much, it's fake". They were forced to exit the grounds through the back door with the aid of the police, using police cars and taxis, while Anthimus left on foot. Despite the violent protests and use of tear gas by police to evacuate Syntagma Square the previous evening, peaceful protests continued on 30 June with thousands of people gathered in front of the Greek parliament. Demonstrations also took place in Greece's second city, Thessaloniki.
The People's Assembly in front of the parliament on 30 June.
The moutza, an insulting gesture in Greek culture, is extensively used in the protests.
A police officer appears to pick an object off the ground and throws it, as a protester using a camera calls to him to put it down because he is being filmed. Others in the background chant for the police to leave the square. July Protests across the country continued in July, marking 5 weeks and 2 days of protest on 1 July. Despite the fact that the austerity measures had been passed, a large crowd, but smaller than on previous days, gathered in front of the Greek parliament to protest peacefully on 2 July. August The sit-in at Thessaloniki's White Tower Square held throughout July and early August, until the municipal police evacuated the square of all protesters that had camped inside on 7 August 2011. The police said that the protesters were in violation of various archaeological and environmental provisions, while also making 7 arrests. On 14 August 2011 the indignants at Heraklion's Eleftherias Square agreed to leave the square peacefully, following the intervention of a local prosecutor; the prosecutor had warned that unless the demonstrators evacuate the square force would be used like in Athens. Following the evacuation of the square by the indignants, police cleared the square of the kiosk that the demonstrators had set up. Political reactions In an interview for the Greek newspaper Ethnos on 29 May 2011, the vice-president of the Greek government, Theodoros Pangalos, against whom various slogans had been shouted during the demonstrations, adopted an ironic stance towards the movement. He said that "the formation of a political movement, however much the people who follow the technological trends don't want to hear this, does not depend on how many 'likes' or 'dislikes' it gets on Facebook". He added that "movements without ideology and organization, that is to say movements based on anger, can only lead to either an ineffective release [of tension], which at the end of the day is of no interest to the political world, or pave the way for an undemocratic change of regime by organized minorities". In response, the demonstrations addressed many chants to the vice-president, like "the country is sinking, Theodore, lose some weight!" and other more vulgar ones. On 29 May, the spokesman of the Greek government, Giorgos Petalotis, spoke out against Pangalos, saying that Pangalos should remember that when he took part in demonstrations against the dictatorship as a member of the Communist Party in 1973, "some people considered these demonstrations provocative". He furthermore added that not only does the Indignant Citizens Movement have a clear ideology (even if it is a "technology trend" as Pangalos described it), but that it also "reflects the real needs of the Greek society". He pointed out that "denial [of the system] and no proposals lead nowhere". On 1 June, the Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, commented in regards to the Indignant Citizens Movement saying that "today protesters in Greece and the world are demonstrating against matters of national governance which are more weak than they used to be and, despite their inner weaknesses, are trapped by the global powers and the changes of a global system". Following the blockade of the Parliament by angry citizens on 31 May, which prevented the MPs inside from exiting the building, and also after the angry reactions against the MPs when they were allowed to exit (such as the throwing of empty water bottles, fruit and other objects), the deputy Minister of Education said "I understand that the Indignant Citizens Movement is not a threat to democracy, but violence is, and I condemn it". She added that "in a democracy, violence should be prevented and not tolerated" and that "the majority of the MPs in parliament are young; they should receive the same treatment as old MPs". The deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs commented that "I can accept tougher questioning and criticism, but not the leveling of our political system. Democracy can give [a] solution. The flattening of our democracy can only lead to a slippery road. The majority of the Greek people can be angry, but not under these circumstances". External videos Video of the Athens protets on 25 May on YouTube The protests of Thessaloniki on 25 May on YouTube The protests of Athens on 29 May on YouTube Video of police brutality on 29 June, destroying tents and hitting civilians on YouTube Video of police hitting and gassing people in a grocery store near Syntagma on 29 June on YouTube Video of police throwing tear gas inside a Metro station packed with people on YouTube European Parliament MP Theodoros Skylakakis, who is aligned with the newly-founded Democratic Alliance party, said that "these people need to get a sense of political ideology and move to a deeper revelation: from what they don't like, to what they like", implying that a non-political movement will be ineffective and without results. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Synaspismos radical left party and the first party leader to comment on the demonstrations, said that "no one has the right to make the people [silent], or tell them that they have no say in their country's future by means of a referendum". He added that the Left should be supportive of the demonstrations and that "things are turning at a fast pace, and the people are waking up". The Mayor of Athens said on 30 May that the protest was a "healthy and sound demonstration", but when a motion was put forth at the municipal council to declare the municipality's support for the demonstrations, the mayor said that he felt "it is not appropriate to express our sympathy". In an interview with a Greek newspaper on 1 June 2011, the Spanish Democracia Real YA! movement, which organized the 2011 Spanish Protests and sparked the Greek protests, said that its members support the Greek demonstrations and that "this is only the beginning". On 2 June 2011, 16 parliament members of PASOK publicly demanded of George Papandreou that the parliament make a full report of country's current financial situation. This was caused by the forthcoming second memoradum voting, which George Papandreou characterised as "urgent". In the early hours of 22 June 2011, George Papandreou and his government narrowly survived a vote of confidence in the Greek parliament, with 155 of the 300 seats voting in favor. On 28 June 2011, amid violent protests in the square outside parliament, the Hellenic Parliament voted in favor of passing a new set of austerity measures with a marginal majority of 155 seats in the 300-seat parliament. The measures themselves had attracted much criticism both from the Greek public and within the country's political scene. Between June and July 2011, Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) went from an 156-seat majority to a 154-seat one, while New Democracy also lost one seat. The allegations of police brutality by Greek and foreign media as well as Amnesty International sparked heated debate in the Hellenic Parliament, with all parties in the house asking the government for explanations, including MPs of the ruling PASOK party. The leader of the opposition, Antonis Samaras, characterized the situation as almost that of a "parastate", while George Karatzaferis of the Popular Orthodox Rally accused the government of "not being able to control 200 thugs in central Athens". The Coalition of the Radical Left party accused the government of "abolishing the very principles of democracy" and filed a complaint against the government for "cheering while at the same time outside the building tear gas was being overly used". Members of the parliamentary group of PASOK characterized the actions of the police as "barbaric" Christos Papoutsis, the Minister for Citizen Protection, denied all accusations claiming that "it's the police that operates, not the government". Regarding the video in which police are allegedly helping hooded youth, he said that the people in the video are not police; the Athens Prosecutor accepted the demands for an investigation into the matter. On the matter of the attack on the Sytagma Square metro station using tear gas by police, the minister said that "people with health issues were transported to hospitals and the others left inside were wearing gas masks more expensive than the ones used by police". Giannis Ragousis, Minister for Transport, asked for a disciplinary measure to punish those responsible. The European Commission stated that any use of violence is sad and unacceptable. Additionally, the Greek government has pledged to amend the constitution as a result of the protests. Among the most important aspects of the constitutional reform will be the change of the functions of the Greek political system. The Greek government has said it will open up the discussion on constitutional amendment in September, both to the public and the media. Other media have pointed out that this could not be legal before 2013 because the constitutional amendment of 2008 forbids any other changes to the constitution prior to 2013. Public perception and media coverage In a survey published in June 2011 by Public Issue on behalf of the Greek TV channel Skai, 98% of people asked said they were informed about the protests. Additionally, 95% of people asked said they had positive impressions about the movement. When asked about their overall opinion of the movement, 86% replied either positive (76%) or probably positive (10%) while 6% replied negative, with an additional 2% as probably negative. 35% of the people asked said they had participated in at least one protest. When asked about their opinion in regards to the media coverage of the events, 53% replied negative and 39% positive. 51% thought the demonstrations are a "very important" event, while 34% felt it was "quite important", with 12% replying they viewed it as either not very important or not important at all. When asked if they believe that the protests may have been politically orchestrated by a political power within the country, 80% replied no and 16% yes. Finally, 52% believed that the protests will bring results, while 39% believed they will not. Demonstrations were scheduled to continue for "as long as it takes". These demonstrations were the largest event to be organized over the internet in Greece. With the exception of Skai TV, Star Channel and Zougla Radio, which provided live coverage of the demonstrations in Athens, media coverage of these events was relatively poor in the first weeks. Major Greek TV channel Mega was forced to temporarily deactivate its Facebook page as thousands of people left negative and derogatory comments on the page because the channel did not cover the events of 29 May. The demonstrations did catch the attention of the International Monetary Fund, and the spokesman of the organization expressed "understanding" for the demonstrators. Additionally, the demonstrations have also been featured in Euronews, El País, El Economista and CNN. Mikis Theodorakis, prominent Greek songwriter and political activist, especially during the years of the dictatorship (1967–1974), also expressed his support for the movement in an open letter addressed to the demonstrators. Famous Greek singer Giannis Kotsiras also expressed his open support for the initiative. Some members of the Greek clergy have also expressed their open support for the demonstrations, notably bishops Anthimus of Thessaloniki and Ambrosius of Kalavryta. Gallery
Athens (25 May)
Larissa (30 May)
Patras (5 June)
Destruction of 29 June (Athens)
Other protests in 2011 August On 23 August 2011, there was a demonstration by workers in the tourism sector. The Pan-Worker's Front staged a sit-in at some of Athens' most famous hotels on Syntagma Square, as well as the iconic Electra Palace Hotel in Thessaloniki's Aristotelous Square. Meanwhile the Federation of Tourism Workers held a 24-hour strike and a demonstration in a central square of Athens. The Federation also said that they would hold another 24-hour strike, but did not define a date for it. The sit-in at various hotels was met with criticism from government officials as well as various labor unions involved in the tourism sector. September In early September 2011, as new measures were announced by the Minister for Finance on 6 September, various unions of the country's public sector announced they would go on strike. These include teachers, doctors, taxi drivers, customs officials and tax collectors, as well as waste collectors working for the municipality of Athens. Additionally, the air traffic controller's union announced that, in the interest of serving the public, air traffic controllers would not go on strike but would refuse to work overtime. Workers at the Athens Urban Transport Organization (which includes the Athens Metro) are considering going on strike as well. October On 5 October 2011, there was a general strike. During the demonstrations police clashed with youth and made 10 arrests. Police are also investigating claims by journalists that they were assaulted by police officers. The police officer who assaulted the journalist was arrested, but then released on 6 October until conclusive evidence is found. There were demonstrations in coordination with the Occupy Wall Street movement on 15 October. Only 7,000 demonstrators, according to estimates by local media, gathered on Syntagma square in a peaceful demonstration. Further protests and strikes were organized for 19 and 20 October. The strikes in fact began on 17 October, when the seaman's union walked off the job for 48 hours, shutting down the ferry services between the islands. Customs officials who clear fuel refinery deliveries also held a 24-hour strike that day. The shortage of fuel and goods in the Greek islands due to the strike of ferry and fuel services has already begun to manifest itself. The second day of the protests was marked by clashes between members of Communist Party (KKE) and hard-line protestors (mainly anarchists) who tried to invade the parliament, resulting in the death of one KKE member. On 28 October (a national holiday in Greece), protests occurred nationwide. In Thessaloniki, where a national military parade is held annually, protesters prevented the parade from officially taking place (the first time this occurred since the parade was first held in 1941) and shouted slogans against Karolos Papoulias, the President of Greece, who was forced to leave. However, the civilian part of the parade along with the conscriptees marched as planned, acclaimed by the crowd. In Athens, during the annual student parade, several schools turned their heads away from the officials present (which included Anna Diamantopoulou, the Minister of Education), while of the members of the band of the Municipality of Athens attached black ribbons to their instruments. Additionally, a crowd of people had gathered in front of Hotel Grand Bretagne in central Athens (close to the VIP stand) and shouted slogans against the economic crisis. In Heraklion protesters threw eggs at the officials, while in Patras protesters occupied the street where the scheduled student parade was to take place and shouted slogans against the officials present (which included the Minister for Defence). Heckling of politicians occurred in many other cities across the country, including Trikala, Volos, Corfu, Serres, Veroia, Tripoli and Rhodes. November On 17 November, as part of the ongoing protests that led to the resignation of the Papandreau government, over 50 thousand people marched in Athens December On 6 December, to mark an anniversary of the death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, thousands of people marched on the Parliament building, throwing Molotov Cocktails at the police, who responded with tear gas. 2012 protests
On 12 February, as many as 500,000 protesters gathered in Athens outside the Parliament House to voice opposition to Lucas Papademos' caretaker cabinet's austerity measures which were being debated in Parliament. The passing of the austerity measures is a precondition for the next €130 billion lending package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to the Greek government, without which the country would face sovereign default by 20 March. Police used large amounts of tear gas and flash grenades, while protesters hurled stones and Molotov cocktails. In total 45 buildings were set ablaze and 25 protesters and 40 officers were injured. The protests had been preceded by a 24-hour nationwide general strike on 7 February, when the two largest labour unions in Greece said the proposed measures would "drive Greek society to despair." Speaking to members of Parliament, Papademos called for calm and urged members to pass the plan while asserting that violence and vandalism had no place in democracy. He also stated to the lawmakers that if the majority of them chose to vote against the austerity measures there would be several onerous consequences, including that the government would not be able to pay the salaries of its employees. On 13 February, the Greek Parliament subsequently approved this latest round of austerity measures by a vote of 199 to 74. On 20 March, the government finally announced they have defaulted and rejected another package from Brussels Bailout and are starting to reform the system. April 5, People once again rose up against the government after a pensioner named Dimitris Christoulas committed suicide by shooting himself, refusing to share the fate of those people who have had to search for food in garbage.
|Wikipedia 2011–2012 Spanish protests|
|The 2011–2012 Spanish protests, also referred to as the 15-M
Movement, the Indignants movement, and Take the Square
#spanishrevolution are a series of ongoing demonstrations in
Spain whose origin can be traced to social networks such as Real
Democracy NOW (Spanish: Democracia Real YA) or Youth Without a
Future (Spanish: Juventud Sin Futuro) among other civilian digital
platforms and 200 other small associations. The protests started
on 15 May 2011 with an initial call in 58 Spanish cities. The
series of protests demands a radical change in Spanish politics, as
protesters do not consider themselves to be represented by any
traditional party nor favoured by the measures approved by
politicians. Spanish media have related the protests to the
economic crisis, Stéphane Hessel's Time for Outrage!, the NEET
troubled generation and current protests in the Middle East and
North Africa, Greece, Portugal as well as the Icelandic
protest and riots in 2009. The movement drew inspiration from
2011 revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and uprisings in 1968 France, and
Greece in 2008, as well as South Korea in 1987. The protests were
staged close to the local and regional elections, held on 22 May.
Even though protesters form a heterogeneous and ambiguous group,
they share a strong rejection of unemployment, welfare cuts, Spanish
politicians, the current two-party system in Spain between the
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party and the People's Party, as well as
the current political system, capitalism, banks and bankers,
political corruption and firmly support what they call basic rights:
home, work, culture, health and education. According to
statistics published by RTVE, the Spanish public broadcasting
company, between 6.5 and 8 million Spaniards have participated in
these protests. Contents [hide] 1 Background 2 Organisation 3
Protests in 2011 3.1 May 2011 3.1.1 15 May 3.1.2 16 May 3.1.3 17 May
3.1.4 18 May 3.1.5 20 May 126.96.36.199 Appeal before the Supreme Court
188.8.131.52 Appeal before the Tribunal Constitucional 3.1.6 21 May 3.1.7
22 May 3.1.8 24 May 3.1.9 25 May 3.1.10 27 May 3.2 June 2011 3.2.1 2
June 3.2.2 4 June 3.2.3 8 June 3.2.4 9 June 3.2.5 11 June 3.2.6 12
June 3.2.7 14 June 3.2.8 15 June 3.2.9 19 June 3.2.10 20–25 June 3.3
July 2011 3.3.1 1 July 3.3.2 23 July 3.3.3 24 July 3.3.4 25 July
3.3.5 26 July 3.3.6 27 July 3.4 August 2011 3.4.1 2 August 3.4.2 3
August 3.4.3 4 August 3.5 October 2011 3.5.1 15 October 3.6 December
2011 3.6.1 5 December 3.6.2 28 December 4 Protests in 2012 4.1
12M-15M 4.1.1 Asturian miners' strike 4.2 August 4.3 September 5
Political response 6 See also 7 References 8 External links Background
Since the beginning of the ongoing economic crisis, Spain has been hit hard with one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe, reaching a eurozone record of 21.3%. The number of unemployed people in Spain stood at 4,910,200 at the end of March 2011, up about 214,000 from the previous quarter, while youth unemployment rate stands at 43.5%, the highest in the European Union. In order to reduce the jobless rate, the government approved in September 2010 a sweeping overhaul of the labour market designed to slash unemployment and revive the economy. Main trade unions CCOO and Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT), as well as minor ones, rejected the plan as it made it easier and cheaper for employers to hire and fire workers. Trade unions called for a general strike on 29 September, the first one in a decade in Spain.
Demonstration in Barcelona on 22 January against the raise in the retirement age During the rest of the year, the government went on with economic reforms and in January 2011, it agreed to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 after reaching an agreement with the main trade unions. Despite that, anarcho-syndicalist unions and other minor ones rejected the plan and called for a strike on 27 January in Galicia, Catalonia and the Basque Country. Demonstrations were also held in Madrid and ended up in clashes. The raise was also rejected by the majority of Spaniards. Although not related to economics, Spanish media have reported the pass in February of the so-called Sinde law, an anti-internet download law which allows for a judicial order to close down any web page which shows links to illegal or illegal downloads of copyright content, as one of the reasons that led to the protests. The law, approved by PSOE, PP and Convergence and Union, has been heavily criticized in Spanish forums and social networks and after the pass an anonymous campaign called #nolesvotes appeared on the Internet, calling on refusing to vote any of the parties that passed the law. Prior to 15 May and the following camp-sites many demonstrations were held in Spain during 2011 and serving as a precedent of the protests, such as the 7 April demonstration in Madrid by the student group Youth without Future (Spanish: Juventud Sin Futuro) which gathered 5,000 people. Spanish media has linked the demonstrations with the 2008–2009 protests against the Bologna Process. The Portuguese "Geração à Rasca" movement also served as an inspiration. Organisation
Main article: Democracia real Ya On January 2011, the digital platform Democracia real YA was created on Spanish social networks and forums. Using Twitter and Facebook it called "the unemployed, poorly paid, the subcontractors, the precarious, young people..." to take the streets on 15 May in the following places (in alphabetical order): A Coruña, Albacete, Algeciras, Alicante, Almería, Arcos de la Frontera, Badajoz, Barcelona, Bilbao, Burgos, Cáceres, Cadiz, Castellón, Ciudad Real, Córdoba, Cuenca, Ferrol, Figueres, Fuengirola, Gijón, Granada, Guadalajara, Huelva, Jaén, Lanzarote, La Palma, León, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lleida, Logroño, Lugo, Madrid, Málaga, Menorca, Mérida, Monforte de Lemos, Murcia, Ourense, Oviedo, Palma, Pamplona, Plasencia, Ponferrada, Puertollano, Salamanca, San Sebastián, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Soria, Tarragona, Toledo, Torrevieja, Ubrique, Valencia, Valladolid, Vigo, Vitoria and Zaragoza. That same day, small demonstrations in support of the Spanish ones were organised in Dublin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Bologna, London and Paris. Before the demonstrations, Democracia real YA staged several symbolic events, such as the occupation of a bank in Murcia on 13 May. At the time of the demonstrations, the Democracia real YA website had the support of over 500 diverse associations, whilst continuing to reject any collaboration from any political party or labour union, defending the protests’ independence from all institutionalised political ideology. Protests in 2011
May 2011 15 May The first protest was called under the motto "we are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers" and was focused on opposition to what the protesters called "antisocial means in the hands of bankers", partly referring to the changes made in 2010 to contain the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis through bailout of the banks, which the Spanish society saw as responsible for the crisis, while at the same time the government kept announcing social program cutbacks. Protesters also demanded more democracy, a new electoral law and end to political corruption as well as other claims, such as banks nationalisation.
Demonstration in Madrid Protests took place in all the planned cities. According to Democracia real YA, 50,000 people gathered in Madrid alone. The National Police, however, placed the number at 20,000. The march started in Plaza de Cibeles and ended in Puerta del Sol, where several manifestos were read. Also according to the organisers, 15,000 gathered in the demonstration in Barcelona, which ended in front of the Parliament of Catalonia. In other cities such as Granada, up to 5,000 protesters showed up and the protest took place without incident, except for an exchange of insults between some protesters and members of the Fraternity of the Virgin of Rosario, whose procession overlapped with the end of the protest after the latter had gone on longer than expected. In Santiago de Compostela, a group of eight hooded people smashed several banks and local businesses. It is estimated that the protesters that day were followed by about 130,000 people throughout Spain. At the end of Madrid's demonstration, protesters blocked the Gran Vía avenue and staged a peaceful sit-in in Callao street, to which police responded beating protesters with truncheons. As a result of the clashes and the following riots, several shop windows were destroyed and trash containers burnt. 24 people were arrested and five police officers injured. On 17 May, Democracia real YA condemned the "brutal police repression" and rejected having any relation with the incidents. After the incidents, a group of 100 people headed to Puerta del Sol and started the camping in the middle of the square, what would result in the following day's protests. 16 May During the day, several people gathered in Puerta del Sol and decided to stay in the square until the elections on 22 May. Meanwhile, 200 people started a similar action in Barcelona's Plaça Catalunya, although police had first tried to disperse the crowds. That day the tag #spanishrevolution, as well as other ones related to the protests, became a trending topic in the social-network Twitter. 17 May
17 May, at night in Puerta del Sol On the early hours of the morning, police cleared the Puerta del Sol square and removed the 150 people who had camped out. Two protesters were arrested and one injured. As a response to the eviction and police violence, protesters called via SMS, Facebook and Twitter for a mass response at 8 pm in several Spanish squares. Large groups of demonstrators returned to protest in various cities, standing apart from the group in Madrid. This time the protests were not called together by Democracia real YA. In a few cities, the police permitted the protesters to camp out, as took place in A Coruña, where more than 1,000 people gathered. In Madrid, more than 12,000 people gathered and about 200 protesters organized into an assembly, during which they decided to organize themselves for spending the night in the square, creating cleaning, communication, extension, materials and legal committees. Previously they had received a great deal of help from small businesses in the form of food. Protests and nighttime camp-outs took place in 30 cities around Spain, including Barcelona and Valencia. The protests gained the support of people in the United Kingdom, who announced that they would sit outside of the Spanish embassy from 18 until 22 May. The protest in Plaza del Sol on the night of the 17 May consisted of about 4,000 people according to the authorities. 300 of them stayed until the dawn of 18 May. Earlier that day, dozens of people gathered in front of the court in Madrid where the people arrested during the 15 May demonstration had been held. All detainees were released. 18 May
Sol, 18 May, early morning In Madrid, the protesters put up a large tarp canopy beneath which they passed out signs with the intention of spending the night there between the 17 and 18 May. According to a reporter from El País, many of them wore carnations, much as took place during the Portuguese Carnation Revolution. In addition, they organized a food stand which provided food donated by local businesses and set up a webcam to provide news from Puerta del Sol through the website Ustream.tv. The protesters were advised not to drink alcohol or to organize into groups of more than 20 people, as these acts could provoke a legal police crackdown. The police ordered protesters to disperse in Valencia, Tenerife and Las Palmas. During the evacuation of the Plaza del Carmen in Granada there were 3 arrests. Speeches continued on throughout the afternoon. The protests grew to include León, Seville, where a camp out started as of 19 May, and in other provincial capitals and cities of Spain. Support groups were created on social networks for each camp out through the social network Twitter and other national and international networks. Google Docs and other servers began to receive download requests for documents needed to legally request permission for new protests. In the morning, the Federación de Asociaciones de Vecinos de Barcelona (FAVB) announced their support of the protests in Barcelona. Protesters agreed to hold meetings between their organizing committees each day at 1 pm and assemblies at 8 pm. In addition to The Washington Post, which covered the protests on 15 May, news reports took place on the 18th in various media outlets, among them Le Monde, the most widely circulated newspaper in French, in an article which noted the rarity of such large scale protests in Spain. The German newspaper, Der Spiegel, noted the importance of the effects of what has been called "The Facebook Generation" and the youth on the protests. The Portuguese paper Jornal de Notícias, reported on the protests in Madrid on 18 May as soon as it was known that they had been prohibited. And The New York Times, which cited El País and noted the strong organization of the protesters, particularly the 200 people who had been placed in charge of security and the use of Twitter to ensure dissemination of their message. The Washington Post again reported on the protests in Puerta del Sol, giving them the name of a "revolution" and estimating the presence of 10,000 people on Wednesday afternoon's protest and comparing it with those in Cairo's Tahrir Square, which had recently ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The BBC made reference to the peaceful nature of the protests in Puerta del Sol. In the evening, the President of the Regional Electoral Committee of Madrid issued a statement declaring the protests illegal because "calls for a responsible vote can change the results of the elections". Police units at Sol, however, received orders from the Government Delegation not to take out any further action.
Protests and tents in Madrid on 20 May.
Since 18 May support protests have occurred daily in several major cities outside Spain, including Dublin, Berlin, London and Paris (shown here on 20 May). 20 May According to Britain's The Guardian, "tens of thousands" had camped out in Madrid and throughout the country on the night of 19–20 May. United Left appealed the Electoral Board's decision to ban the protests before Spain's Supreme Court, to which the State Prosecution presented its arguments shortly after. Appeal before the Supreme Court Spain's public broadcaster, RTVE reported that the State Prosecutor upheld the decision taken by the Central Electoral Board to ban the rallies. Meanwhile, the police announced that they had been given instructions not to dissolve the crowd at Puerta del Sol provided that there was no disturbance of the peace. Appeal before the Tribunal Constitucional RTVE later reported that the country's Constitutional Court had been deliberating since 7.30 pm whether to review an appeal against the decision of the Central Electoral Board. At 10.08 pm (local time), RTVE informed that the Constitutional had rejected the appeal on the formality that the appellant had not appealed first to the Supreme Court. At 22:47 United Left announced it would appeal the Supreme Court's decision before the Tribunal Constitucional. They had until midnight. At around 23:00, some 16,000 people (according to the police) and 19,000 (according to other sources) were gathered at and around Puerta del Sol. 21 May In Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and other cities 21 May started with a "mute scream" followed by cheers and applause. Smaller cities, such as Granada, decided to start before midnight to avoid disturbing the neighbors. These protests occurred even though protests on the day before elections are banned. Around 28,000 people, according to the police, crowded Puerta del Sol and the neighboring streets despite the prohibition. Other cities also gathered large numbers of people: 15,000 in Malaga, 10,000 in Valencia, 6,000 in Zaragoza, 4,000 in Seville, 1,500 in Granada, 800 in Almeria, 600 in Cadiz, 200 in Huelva, around 100 in Jaen. 8,000 people gathered in Barcelona, 1,000 in Vigo, 3,000 in Bilbao, 2,000 in Oviedo, 2,000 in Gijón, around 800 in Avilés, 3,000 in Palma. There were demonstrations in other European cities, with 300 protesters participating in London, 500 in Amsterdam, 600 in Brussels and 200 in Lisbon. Minor demonstrations occurred in Athens, Milan, Budapest, Tangiers, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Rome. 22 May
Indignados change the occupied squares' names across Spain (22 May, Praza 15 de Maio en A Coruña) Just after 14:00 on election day, the indignados (the outraged) that had gathered at Puerta del Sol announced they had voted to stay at least another week, until noon on 29 May. Early analysis of the nationwide elections, won by the People's Party, suggested the protest movement could have contributed to losses for the ruling PSOE, and to increased numbers of spoilt or blank votes, which reached record levels. 24 May In Murcia, some 80 people gained access to the headquarters of the television channel 7 Región de Murcia, avoiding security staff, in order to read a manifesto denouncing media manipulation. Likewise, some 30 people gained unobstructed entry to the Tarragona office of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and shouted slogans against the political and economic systems, before moving to several financial sites in the city centre to do the same. 25 May In Málaga, the Ministry of Defence decided to relocate various activities for Armed Forces Day, including the King's visit, planned for Friday 27. Protesters had already been occupying the Plaza de la Constitución, where the events were scheduled to take place, for eight days. 27 May External media Images P. Catalunya clash gallery Videos P. Catalunya clash (video 1) on YouTube P. Catalunya clash (video 2) on YouTube P. Catalunya clash (video 3) on YouTube P. Catalunya clash (video 4) on YouTube At approximately 7 am on 27 May a more serious incident occurred when the city council of Barcelona decided to send 350 police officers from the Mossos d'Esquadra and another one hundred or so from the Guàrdia Urbana to temporarily vacate Plaça de Catalunya so that it could be cleaned ahead of the final of the Champions League final on 28 May, in which FC Barcelona were playing against Manchester United. The resulting violent clash ended in 121 light injuries and provoked new calls to protest in all squares still occupied across Spain. The majority of those injured suffered bruises and open wounds caused by police officers' truncheons, and one protester leaving with a broken arm. By shortly after midday those protesters vacated had already returned to the square. Similar incidents also occurred in Lleida and Sabadell, where Mossos d'Esquadra officers dismantled the protesters' encampments. According to police figures, more than 12,000 people gathered in Barcelona through the course of the day, angry about the earlier actions of the police, painting their hands white and carrying flowers as symbols of protest. They demanded, among other things, the resignation of the head of the Mossos d'Esquadra, Felip Puig. They also claimed that following the incident the encampment would likely not be taken down on Sunday 28, as had previously been stated. The clearing of the Barcelona camp was broadcast live by two Spanish television channels, including Antena 3, and was also widely dispersed through social networks such as Twitter. The Catalan ombudsman opened an investigation into the incident to check if police action was disproportionate and if it violated citizens' rights.
'Listen to the people's wrath', Puerta del Sol, Sunday morning, 29 May. June 2011 2 June At least 40 people gathered in Montcada i Reixac, Barcelona and prevented court officials from serving a family with the order to leave their home immediately, and protesting against banks repossessing people's homes. 4 June Representatives from 53 assemblies around Spain gathered in a mass assembly in Puerta del Sol. 8 June In Madrid, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Congreso de los Diputados, with a police barrier preventing them from entering the building. Demonstrations in front of the Parliament are banned in Madrid, but the protest finished without incidents. In Valencia, dozens of people decided to stay in front of the regional Parliament. In Barcelona, around 50 people protested outside the Catalan Parliament against Felip Puig. 9 June In the morning, police clashed with protesters in Valencia, injuring 18. As a response of the police violence, demonstrators called for a protest in the city later that day, which gathered around 2,000 people. Support demonstrations were held in Barcelona and Madrid, the latter ending up in front of the Parliament for a second night. Barcelona's protest finished in front of the Popular Party's office. 11 June Thousands indignados from the whole country concentrated at the gates of major city halls during the mayors' swearing-ins after the elections. Protesters broke in on the act in Granada, while two activists were arrested in Burgos and three in Palma. In Castellón, the police dissolved the demonstration violently. 12 June On Sunday, 12 June, four weeks after the protests had begun, protestors in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, began to leave, dismantling the "acampada," packing up tents, libraries, shops, and removing protest signs from surrounding sites. 14 June Thousands of people assembled in front of Barcelona's Parc de la Ciutadella and organised themselves to spend the night, in order to start on the following day a blockade of the Catalan Parliament (which is inside the park) and prevent deputies from entering the building, where the debate on the 2011 budget, which results in cuts in education and health, was to take place. 15 June
Police confront demonstrator outside Catalan Parliament on 15 June Clashes between protesters and Mossos d'Esquadra occurred in the early hours of the morning when hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the police cordon, while officers fired plastic bullets in order to disperse a group of protesters who had set up barricades using rubbish containers. Hours later, scuffles broke out as Mossos de Esquadra pushed protesters back so the deputies who arrived on foot could get in. Some deputies, such as former Minister of Labour Celestino Corbacho were jostled, heckled and sprayed on their way in, while other used used police helicopters to get to the parliament. Among those, the president of Catalonia Artur Mas. Despite that lawmakers managed to enter the Catalonian Parliament and the scheduled session started with a 15 minute delay. By midday, most of the protesters remained outside the parliament, while some confronted police with rocks and bottles. At least 36 people were injured, 12 of them Mossos d'Esquadra, and 6 people were arrested. The protest was criticized by politicians across the country, and during a press conference, Mas warned of a possible "legitimate use of force" in case demonstrators stayed outside the Parliament and called on the public to be understanding. Some politicians went so far as dennouncing an attempted "coup d'etat". Acampadabcn, the organiser of the event, and Democracia real YA "rejected" the use of violence but denounced the criminalisation of the movement by the media. On Twitter and other social networks, many users suggested the possibility that secret police, infiltrated to cause the violence, started most of the clashes. At the end of the day, demonstrators left the area and organised a march towards Plaça de Sant Jaume. 19 June
Starting point of the demonstration on 19 June 2011 in Córdoba. 8,000 people attended the demonstration. A massive demonstration was carried out in almost 80 Spanish cities and towns. It is believe that more than three million people rallied that day. 20–25 June The first columns of the Indignant People's March from the whole country began walking towards Madrid, planning to arrive in the capital on 23 July. The March's goal was to expand the proposals of the Movement while visiting rural areas, collecting their demands and starting people's assemblies. The March was organised in eight columns, consisting on dozens of activists from 16 cities: Eastern route: from Valencia 20 June. Murcia route: from Murcia 20 June. Northern route: from Santander, Bilbao and Pamplona. 23 and 29 June. Northwest route: from Santiago de Compostela, Vigo, Ferrol, Avilés and Gijón between 24 and 30 June. Southern route: from Cádiz. 24 June. Southeastern route: from Málaga and Motril. 25 June. Northeastern route: from Barcelona. 25 June. N-II route: from Zaragoza. 7 July.
Indignant People's March Northeastern column, 11 July.
Southern column near Aranjuez, 21 July. July 2011 1 July Dozens of people protested outside Barcelona's town hall during the swearing-in ceremony of Spanish Convergence and Union's candidate Xavier Trias. 23 July
All columns of the Indignant People's March unite in Puerta del Sol on 23 July after a month long walk. After a month long walk, the columns of walkers from the Indignant People's March who had departed from the main cities of Spain join in Puerta del Sol, Madrid where the Movement emerged. Thousands collapsed the main entrances of Madrid in an improvised demonstration, as sympathisers from Madrid and all over Spain joined the walkers. The eight columns reunited at 21 pm in Puerta del Sol under a banner saying "WELCOME DIGNITY", received with cheers and appaluses. The march culminated in a wrap up & after action review assembly, sharing social, political and economic problems of the towns found on the way, as well as the proposals made by the townsmen. Collecting these experiences, The Book of the People was made and redacted into an official document to be deposited in the Congress of Deputies' register A provisional camp was established in Paseo del Prado to put up the thousands of walkers who had arrived. 24 July A demonstration formed under the motto "It's not a crisis, it's the system" and the poetic "It's not a crisis, I just don't love you anymore," joined by the hundreds of thousands of rural protesters who had arrived from all over the country. During the rally, protesters sprayed red hand graffiti on buildings, and posted bills saying "GUILTY" on bank offices and ministries, referencing the widely held belief that the crisis was caused by banks, the Government, and cuts in social services. Due to the large crowds, the demonstration split into two columns to avoid congestion. The demonstration ended with a protest camp in front of the Congress of Deputies. External videos Paseo del Prado clash (video 1) on YouTube Paseo del Prado clash (video 2) on YouTube 25 July The I 15-M Social Forum was held in order to coordinate the mobilisations of the following winter.During the economics assembly 2001 Nobel Prize Joseph Stiglitz appeared to show his support to the Movement. The camp in front of the Congress continued. 26 July Fifty indignados left Puerta del Sol walking in an International March to Brussels, planning to arrive on 8 October, a week before the demonstrations of 15 October in order to give the people's proposals to the European Parliament. 27 July The camp in Paseo del Prado was violently removed by the police, ending with a dozen of injured. As a response a demonstration holding 500 rallied towards the Congress. Meanwhile, several activists crossed the police line in the Congress wearing formal dresses and succeeded entering the Congress of Deputies, where the Book of the People, containing the rural problematics found during the Indignant People's March, was delivered. Deputy Gaspar Llamazares compromised on presenting it to the Congress and forwarded it to the Prime Minister, however he made clear that he had no connection to the Movement.  August 2011 2 August When the 12 June assembly decision was made to dismantle the tent city in Puerta del Sol, the assembly decided by consensus to leave behind an information booth, called PuntoSol, where people interested in the movement could find information about how it had been decentralized to the neighborhood assemblies. An organic garden surrounding one of the fountains in Sol was also left behind in the square. At 6:30 am on 2 August, the national and municipal police evicted the remaining protestors at the information booth and cleaning crews dismantled PuntoSol and the organic garden. At the same time they evicted the tent city which had sprung up on the Paseo del Prado. The police then blocked off all access to Sol including Metro and Cercanías and filled the square with over 300 police, including riot police, and 50 police vans. In response, protestors called an immediate convergence to try to access the square. The heavy police presence impeded their entry. The protestors, then numbering over 5000, decided to turn to the streets, demonstrating from Callao, Gran Vía, Cibeles, Paseo del Prado, all the way to the Congress of Deputies building, where they were met with more riot police, police barricades and police vans. Protests then turned to Atocha and once more to Sol where they were met with an overwhelming police presence. The decision was then made by the protestors to occupy Plaza Mayor where an emergency participatory assembly was held in order to decide what to do. Ultimately, protestors set up a temporary information booth in Plaza Mayor while some decided to stay there camping through the night. At the end of the night, two people were arrested, and released the day after. 3 August
Poster used in the protests, "Not enough bread for so much chorizo (pork)", referring to political corruption. During the Plaza Mayor assembly, it was decided that on the next day, an assembly would be held at Jacinto Benavente square at 6 pm in order to attempt entering the square. The square was then cordoned off by police and metro and train stations closed, while police asked for identification to anyone trying to pass into the square. Police also asked customers from shops around Sol to close their businesses several hours earlier than usual. As the attempt failed, the protestors decided to start a new march from Atocha two hours later. The march from Atocha grew larger as people began passing through Cibeles and up the Gran Vía heading toward Puerta del Sol, where officers and police vans, prevented the demonstrators from marching up San Jerónimo street. Police and about 4,000 demonstrators then played a game of cat-and-mouse as the demonstrators tried to enter Puerta del Sol through different streets. There were several moments of tension at different points and by 11 pm, the groups of demonstrators disbanded and retreated to Callao Square, where an assembly was held and it was decided that a demonstration would be held at 12 pm on the following day and there would be another attempt to enter Sol at 8 pm. 4 August External videos Carga policial frente al Ministerio del Interior on YouTube Police charged against protesters in front of Interior Ministry in Madrid. October 2011 15 October As part of the 15 October movement, (related to the "Occupy" protests), hundreds of thousands marched in Madrid and other cities. Half million people took part in the demonstration that filled the street and marched from Alcala and Cibeles toward Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, home of the "Indignants" movement, of which this has merged, according to Europapress media agency. There 50 thousand people remained and most of them participated in the activities and general assembly organised. Barcelona, had as many as a quarter million. December 2011 5 December 200 police officers clear the hotel occupied in Madrid since 15 October. No injuries were reported. Later that day, 3,000 people marched in the centre of Madrid against the eviction. 28 December Around 3,000 marched in the centre of Madrid in what was called the "Cabalgata de los Indignados" (the Outraged Cavalcade). At the beginning of the protest, demonstrators clashed with police, leaving five injured, including two police officers. Two persons were arrested. After the initial scuffles with police officers, demonstrators made their way to Puerta del Sol square without further incidents. Protests in 2012
On 22 February, thousands of people rallied in the city of Valencia against austerity measures that would affect students financing for studying in college as the police arrested hundreds of the protesters. On 26 February about a hundred thousand protesters demanded and end fo further public spending cuts. On 29 February, another protest against the government occurred in tandem with protests in Greece. Some police were also seen supporting the protesters. On 29 March, protests occurred in Barcelona, while the security forces were allegedly told to suppress the protesters. However, they were outnumbered and retreated to their barracks to avoid more injuries. 12M-15M In May, the protesters celebrated the first anniversary of its "Indignants" protest movement against the banking and political status quo with thousands of people gathering in several Spanish cities[which?] at the same time as similar protests as part of a global day of action, including London, Lisbon, Frankfurt and Tel Aviv. At least 100,000 were estimated to have marched in Spain against the austerity measures. Asturian miners' strike Main article: 2012 Asturian miners' strike In late May, an industrial dispute[vague] involving more than 8,000 coal miners involved demonstrations and a march to the federal capital. August Marinaleda Mayor Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo led protests started by labour union SAT (Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores) 'Andalusian Union of Workers' to get the federal government, led by Mariano Rajoy, to cease austerity measures that involve budgest cuts and sackings public sector workers. The labour union act of taking food for free in several supermarkets to feed jobless people and to ignite a big controversy and stressing that the attention is on the Spanish risk premium, debt and deficit instead of on the hunger of (what was)the mid-low class problem, being Gordillo named as a 'Robin Hood'. September 25 of September an action to surround the Spanish Congress took place in Madrid. Political response
The demonstration triggered reactions from the main political parties, who after debating issued statements on 16 May. On 15 May, the day of the first demonstration, almost every party was willing to be quoted on the situation. Jaime Mayor Oreja, Member of the European Parliament representing the Partido Popular, was critical of the protesters’ alleged intention of not casting ballots on the forthcoming election. So was Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) member and Minister of Public Works and Transport José Blanco. United Left had a positive view of the protesters’ demands, but admitted not having been capable of connecting to them. The communist party’s political coordinator Cayo Lara, defended the protesters’ refusal to become a “lost generation” and was critical of their removal from the Puerta del Sol on 16 May. Other politicians, such as José Antonio Griñán, showed sympathy for the protests, while insisting in that not voting is not a solution. Esteban González Pons, general vicesecretary of the Partido Popular linked the demonstrations to the “antisystem far left”. Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González compared the protests, which he considered "an extraordinarily important phenomenon", with those staged in Arab countries, pointing out that "in the Arab world they are demanding the right to vote while here they are saying that voting is pointless". On 25 July 2011, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz participated to the "I Foro Social del 15M" organised in Madrid (Spain) expressing his support to the 2011 Spanish protests. During an informal speech, he made a brief review of some of the problems in Europe and in the United States, the serious unemployment rate and the situation in Greece. This is an opportunity for economic contribution social measures, argued Stiglitz, who made a critical speech about the way authorities are handling the political exit to the crisis. He encouraged those present to respond to the "bad ideas", not with indifference, but with "good ideas". This does not work, you have to change it, he said. On 15 September 2012, Stiglitz declared that Accepting the bailout would be suicidal for S
|Guardian FBI / Bankster coordinated crackdown on Occupy and Partnership for Civil Justice Fund lawsuit|
|Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent Share40746 inShare47 Email Naomi Wolf guardian.co.uk, Saturday 29 December 2012 09.58 EST Jump to comments (643) Police used teargas to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens. The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations' knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61). As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledgesOccupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a "terrorist threat": "FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conductingsurveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country." Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it "police-statism": "This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America." The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a "Bank Fraud Working Group" met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit. The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Michigan "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Michigan, the FBI and the "Bank Security Group" – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to "National Bad Bank Sit-in Day" (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state's Occupy members' details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its "joint terrorism task force" aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages. Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration ofOccupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the "longterm plans" of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent. There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent. Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one's personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a "terrorist organization" and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing. Why the huge push for counterterrorism "fusion centers", the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.|